The Catholic University of America

International Student Employment Policy

Approved by: President
History: Issued   -- June 2003  
  Revised -- June 2006  
  Additional History
Related Policies: Institutional Reporting Requirements for International Students;
Categories of Employment: International Students
Additional References: 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f); ISSS Webpage
Responsible Official: Director, International Student & Scholar Services tel. (202) 319-5618
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I.   Introduction

International students in F or J status must abide by federal regulations governing their status. Failure to comply with these regulations may invalidate their legal status in the U.S. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 places the responsibility of maintaining lawful status squarely on the shoulders of the individual international student.

International students face limited opportunities for employment while holding F or J status.

II.   Definitions

A.       On-campus employment: employment that takes place on the campus of the University, this including:

a.       Any University department, school or administrative unit.

b.      Any non-University employer operating their business on the University's campus provided that the employer provides direct services to University students (dining services, bookstore, etc.)

c.      An off-campus site that is educationally affiliated with the University as either

i. Part of the school's established curriculum or

ii. Related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level.

It does not include employers near the campus who may provide services to Univeristy students (The Shrine, John Paul II Institute; nearby religious houses, or any off-campus locations of employers who run businesses on the University's campus.)

B.     Curricular practical training: work opportunity for international students in F-1 status that is related to the student's course of study and that is considered an integral part of the University's established curriculum.

C.     Optional Practical training: work opportunity for international students in F-1 status that is related to the student's course of study.

D.     Academic training: work opportunity for international students in J-1 status that is related to the student's course of study.

E.     Severe Economic Hardship: an unforeseen change in the student's economic situation, such as death of parent; loss of scholarship; change of economy at home, etc.

III. On-Campus Employment

Students in University-sponsored F-1 or J-1 status may legally engage in employment on campus for up to 19 hours a week while school is in session and full time during periods when school is not in session. Individuals who have a research assistantship or teaching assistantship that requires them to work 19 hours a week and individuals who are resident assistants in the dorms are not eligible for any additional on-campus employment.

In rare circumstances, under the immigration regulations governing F-1 status only, some employment opportunities at off-campus locations may be considered on-campus employment if the student is working under the direct supervision of a University faculty member conducting University research. In such instances, the student's pay must come from the University as opposed to the employer on whose premises the work may physically occur.

IV. Curricular practical training (F-1 Students only)

An international student may be eligible to engage in curricular practical training, gaining valuable work experience in their field of study. CPT may be authorized by ISSS if:

A.     He/she has been a bona fide student for one full academic year. (Graduate students may be immediately eligible if the graduate program requires the practical training.)

B.     He/she has a specific job offer.

C.     He/she continues to work towards the fulfillment of his/her degree requirements.

D.     The work is an integral part of the established curriculum in the student's course of study. The work must be recommended by the student's academic adviser.

E.      The student maintains a full course of study as required under applicable immigration regulations.

V.  Optional Practical Training (F-1 students only)

Another mechanism for gaining valuable experience in the field of study, optional practical training affords international students the ability to work for up to 12 months per degree level in off-campus positions related to their study but not integral to the course of study. Students may take advantage of this either before completing their coursework or after completing their coursework. OPT must be recommended by ISSS and approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services prior to commencement of employment. Qualifying F-1 students must have been students for one academic year.

VI. Academic training (J-1 students only)

A combination of curricular practical training and optional practical training, academic training is available to J-1 students almost immediately upon arrival. The proposed employment must be related to the student's course of study as confirmed by his or her academic adviser, and the job must be offered prior to applying for academic training. ISSS must approve the academic training in advance of employment.

VII. Employment based on severe economic hardship

If unforeseen economic situations have arisen since an individual obtained his/her student status, you may be eligible to apply for employment authorization. To be eligible for this type of employment, a student must have held F-1 status for a year and be able to document severe, unexpected economic hardship. As with other types of employment, ISSS should be consulted to provide appropriate recommendations.

VIII. Employment with an international organization (F-1 students only)

To qualify for this, students must have a specific job offer from an international organization such as the World Bank, the Organization of American States, etc. Employment does not need to relate to the student's course of study. The Immigration Service must approve this type of employment prior to commencement of employment. While school is in session, employment is limited to 19 hours per week; it can be full time when school is not in session.